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Threat Of Escalation Hangs Heavy In Lebanon As 2 Israeli tourists killed in Egypt – foreign ministry

Following Hezbollah’s limited artillery and missile strikes this morning on Israeli positions, the situation here on Lebanon’s southern border is for now, calm.

But the threat of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict escalating hangs heavy here in southern Lebanon and across the country.

The Iranian backed group chose its target carefully, three positions in the disputed territory of Shebaa farms. But it is capable of much more.

Hezbollah, which like Iran, is committed to Israel’s destruction, yesterday congratulated Hamas on its attacks on Israeli territory and said it would “keep a close eye on developments”.

Today’s attacks were “in solidarity with the Palestinian people”, a fresh statement said.

The militant group has long-range missiles at its disposal which can strike deep into Israeli territory.

Israel, which retaliated immediately this morning by targeting launch and other sites, had already sent reinforcements to its northern border. It says it is planning a long conflict, and a ground offensive in Gaza is expected.

Today’s exchange was limited in scale, with both sides carefully calibrating their responses, and falls far short of action that would provoke all-out war. But the implicit threat in Hezbollah’s actions is that this may not always be the case.

And Hezbollah is not Lebanon, there are many in the country that oppose it.

Still suffering from political paralysis – there is no president – and a shattering economic crisis, Lebanon is poorly placed to face another crisis.

Two Israeli tourists killed in Egypt – foreign ministry

In a related event in Egypt, two Israeli tourists and their Egyptian tour guide have been shot dead in the Egyptian city of Alexandria, Israel’s foreign ministry says.

A police officer allegedly opened fire on a group of Israeli tourists in the city. The officer is now in custody, reports say.

The Extra News television channel also quoted an unidentified security official as saying that another person was wounded in the attack.

It is the first such attack on Israelis in Egypt in decades.